Songs of Life's Complaint
"The work, in total, was audacious, richly textured and as romantic in its way as the poems which inspired it."
interesting work of the evening was the Canadian premiere of Songs of
Life's Complaint by Canadian composer Andrew MacDonald. Dramatic and
forceful, it powerfully communicated a feeling of anguish.
The Winnipeg Free Press
Excursions for Flute Alone
"Intellectual weight tipped the balance at last night's concert, with only Andrew P. MacDonald's Excursions for Flute Alone providing something light. KeriLynn Wilson provided the zest to make the puckish work playful and charming. Her performance was such that Excursions inspires images that are at once lyrical and phantasmagorical."
The Winnipeg Free Press
In the Garden of Gæa
"The title of Andrew P. MacDonald's In the Garden of Gæa suggested a more earthbound view-Gæa being the goddess of the earth-but his eye was fixed on the bloody legends of the Titans, the Cyclopes, and Uranus, from whom sprang the lovely Aphrodite. No music could possibly tell that story, yet there is a narrative thrust to the work, and musical motifs that might well have been character-sketches. The pleasure in this work lay in MacDonald's feeling for orchestral texture, which he expressed with considerable power."
The Toronto Star
"MacDonald's enormously impressive Violin Concerto received its world premiere Tuesday evening from violinist David Stewart, with the MCO guest-conducted by Susan Haig, and on every count it showed itself as a work of character and quality. MacDonald's syntax has that same sort of swashbuckling optimism Walton shows in his Violin Concerto, along with a similarly concentrated use of the orchestra where each melodic fragment has real relevance to the overall texture. The work is boldly scored, with the solo line felicitously virtuosic yet integrated into the whole, giving the sense of a taughtly symphonic structure throughout its three-sectioned single movement. There are influences but these are mixed to suggest a peculiarly individual landscape where sustained, slower moving colors are frequently found changing behind passages of much animation. Although the tone of the work is lean and muscular overall, there is plenty of appealingly Romantic sweep, but it is so skillfully managed that one never senses imbalances of mood or intent."
The Winnipeg Free Press
"MacDonald's Violin Concerto, begun in 1987 and completed in 1991, sparkles with life, both in its brilliant writing for the soloist and its imaginative use of orchestral colour. If you want a parallel, my feeling is that MacDonald's work has a closely-related uncle in the form of the Walton concerto: it shares the same sun-dappled textures, the same pervasive lyricism, the same concern with clarity. It is instantly appealing and ought to find favour with audiences wherever it is performed."
"The opening with
its horns both creates a strong atmosphere and gets the thematic
discourse rolling. There is an earthy, peasant-flavored entry for the
solo violin, craftily supported by the orchestra. At last, a Canadian
composer for whom the expression 'well orchestrated' is not a euphemism
for 'musically empty'.
The Montreal Gazette
There was certainly no
lack of the dramatic in Canadian composer Andrew P. MacDonald’s Double
Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, written for
Newfoundland’s ECMA nominated Duo Concertante.
The Guardian, Charlottetown, P.E.I. • Friday, February 25, 2000
The centerpiece of the
evening with the premiere performance of Ontario-born composer Andrew
MacDonald’s Double Concerto Op. 51 for violin, piano and
The Telegram, St. John’s, Nfld. • Sunday, February 20, 2000
...it was an appealing opus, written in a mildly dissonant, accessible style. There was some energetic and exotic writing in the outer movements, but the highlight was the interior Hymn to a Deltaic God. This remarkable intermezzo, mixing frankly lyrical solo writingÉ with a gentle ostinato of abstract-sounding open intervals, could stand alone as an encore. Quarter-tone sequences worked nicely as special effects and the final chord was richly ambiguous.
The Gazette, Montreal • November 28, 1998
Hermes of the Stars:
Andrew MacDonald’s Hermes
of the Stars had the upper strings on their feet, rather like a
period instrument band in the throws of Baroque gesture, which the
piece’s veneer emulates.
Winnipeg Free Press • Thursday, March 18, 1999
Variations was inspired by the star cluster of that name, prominent
in winter skies over the northern hemisphere. In a tribute to the
seven-star constellation, the piece is formally divided into seven
sections, each of which is a variation on a seven-note theme. The music
is serene and mysterious, as befits the subject matter.
Opus (formerly Classical Music Magazine), Toronto • July 1999
In the Eagle’s Eye:
I was prepared to dislike this work, as there are few contemporary works which I find pleasurable as aesthetic music experiences, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and craftsmanship. It is well written for the instruments and the Gryphon Trio performed dazzling pyrotechnics and fervent lyricism in their performance of this colourful piece.
Nelson Daily News, Nelson, B.C. • 1996
In the Eagle’s Eye,
Op. 37 is a superb piece by Andrew P. MacDonald. It is partly
descriptive, but largely abstract, evoking exactly what the title
suggests. Wednesday’s reading was only the third performance it has
received, but one can confidently predict that it will receive many
The Ottawa Citizen • Thursday, August 8, 1996
After Dark... by Mr. MacDonald was a descriptive piece which fit well with recent Halloween celebrations. “Procession of the Night Things” had an ominous beginning, alternating chords in the lowest octaves of the keyboard with delicate melodic lines in the upper-most keys. Ms. Andrist’s musical approach to the notes made the work accessible to all.
The Daily Gleaner, Fredericton, N.B. • Wednesday, November 4, 1992
Last updated: 08/31/2005